Animals came from miles around…

…tired of walking so close to the ground.
They needed a change, that’s what they said.
Life was better walking on two legs
But they didn’t know the law…

I was on Spring Break last week, but that didn’t seem to stop Big News from happening.  Some good, some not so good, and some perplexing.

One story that has had me a bit perplexed is the decision by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to ban Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA from being sold, stating that the label was “detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.”  In an effort to fight against this kind of censorship, Flying Dog filed suit against the Commission to overturn the ban.  There are all kinds of legal aspects to this case, but what perplexes me is the Commission’s decision in the first place.  First off, the label is artwork designed by renown gonzo artist Ralph Steadman who has been creating the label artwork for Flying Dog for years.  There did not seem to be an issue with In Heat Wheat, so maybe it’s the word “Bitch” that has the collective panties in a bunch.  But then, what about Stone Brewing’s Arrogant Bastard?  Have they tried to ban Fat Bastard wine?  El Bastardo?  Did they block Dogfish Head from selling Bitches Brew last year?  While I can understand there is some language that some people find offensive, there needs to be consistency.  I hope a judge sees the merit of Flying Dog’s case and overturns this thought-police type action in Michigan.

My good friends over at United We Drink held a bracket-style tournament last week, pitting various beer mascots against one another in a sort of a fictional King of the Ring type Battle Royal.  What began as the “Sour Sixteen” was eventually whittled down to the Grand Champion through a discussion of how each contest might go, in a classic “who would win in a fight” argument.  I have to say, my bracket got busted almost immediately due to some irregularities and some scandal and controversy.  I fully expect the Tommyknocker Gnome to be banned from the tournament for at least a year, is not more for doping.  I also believe there is enough evidence to believe that there was some officiating irregularities, especially in the Nelson Sauvin Conference games.  But overall, it was very entertaining.  To find out how the matches played out, listen to the podcast.  Here are some suggestions for next years tournament.

  • Expand the field to 4 conferences, 32 teams, and make them regional.
  • That damn Tom Barris should be a special guest referee.  And then do the opposite of what he says.
  • Maybe increase the officiating to 5 judges instead of 3.
  • Perhaps more specific mascots.  The Stone Gargoyle represents the whole brewery, whereas the Pumking is a specific beer.

Florida beer festivals keep coming, and the latest is the Winter Haven Brew Fest.  This is a “entry-level” festival catering to the beer novice primarily, but I expect that there will be some great beers to be had, as well as a solid showing of beer geeks.

Some disturbing allegations have been made around the Discovery Channel’s decision to not continue with the show “Brewmasters”.  You can read a more in-depth look over at, but the general gist seems to be that, contrary to Discovery’s assertions that the decision to not renew (not the same as cancelling) Brewmasters was poor audience reception, it may very well have been pressure from sponsor Anheuser-Busch and a threat to pull advertising.  The fact that the claims came from No Reservations star Anthony Bourdain seems to give it a bit more credibility, although the never-shy Bourdain may have just been spouting off in irritation.  Either way, it is too bad the show won’t continue.  I think it had great potential.

On a final, and very personal note, I wanted to acknowledge the passing of my sweet German Shepherd, Luna.  After 13 wonderful years and countless great memories, old age finally caught up with her Sunday morning.  It was a devastating loss to our family, but the outpouring of sympathies from around the beer community on Facebook, Twitter, and through email – even from those who never knew her – has been very touching.  Thank you for your kind words.  Rest in Peace, my sweet girl.

~ by Sean Nordquist on April 5, 2011.

5 Responses to “Animals came from miles around…”

  1. FYI, old friend: the Michigan Liquor Control Commission didn’t allow Bitches Brew to be sold in Michigan. Yes, you can get the various bastards here, including Michigan-made Founders Backwoods Bastard and Dirty Bastard. But nothing labeled “bitch.” Hilarious to think that a kid can buy Miles Davis’s famous, incredible album Bitches Brew here, but an adult can’t buy the tribute beer.

    On a more somber note, I am so sad about your loss of Luna. She was such a darling. I’m glad I got to meet her on my trip out there.

  2. I like your ideas for next years tournament of mascots. How about this one;

    The Wild Cicerone as a guest mascot….now it might be rigged, after all we know that T.W.C. can destroy anything with his manly beard, and that plaid shirt is like armor of steel. Yeah he is pretty much the Superman of the beer world!

  3. Sorry about Luna! She looks like a sweetheart. She will live on as a Flying Dog wherever canines go hereafter.

    Great post and great blog! Yep, MLCC is making a ridiculously silly case for blocking distribution of Raging Bitch, and we have a feeling FD will come out on top here.

  4. Love the way the dog is eying the beer 🙂

  5. it is only fitting that all ur posts should begin with a tribute to boingo.
    RIP Luna

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